Should You Continue With Addiction Treatment After Detox?
Addiction treatment is a long process that requires some hard work on your part. A key question in many people’s mind, though, is whether it is really necessary to continue with addiction treatment once you finish a detox program. Learn more about the benefits of the full continuum of care in treatment and what is involved in long-term addiction treatment.
WHAT IS ADDICTION TREATMENT?
Addiction treatment is a long-term process that addresses multiple issues that cause, are caused by, or somehow affect your substance use disorder. Treatment typically lasts a few months and involves various levels of care. As you progress through these levels of care, you are going through what is referred to as the continuum of care. The levels of care after detox are as follows:
- Inpatient services. This is a highly intensive level of care that involves 24 hours of medical monitoring every day, in addition to clinical services. If you have ongoing medical concerns, or there is a threat of dangerous post-acute withdrawal symptoms, this level of care is ideal for you.
- Intensive outpatient (IOP). When medical and psychological conditions no longer threaten your treatment progress or personal well-being you may progress through to IOP. At this level, you will still have access to highly-intensive clinical services of more than nine hours each week.
- Outpatient services. In outpatient services, you will have access to fewer than nine hours of clinical services. But this additional support is helpful in easing you into independent life.
Through these services, you will learn relapse prevention techniques, healthy coping skills, and how to deal with underlying issues.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
If you are wondering if long-term addiction treatment is really necessary after you complete detox, it’s important that you take a few things into consideration. Think through the following factors. If any of these apply to you, addiction treatment might be your best next step.
YOU WERE MORE THAN JUST DEPENDENT
Drug dependence can occur after prolonged use of a prescription or illicit drug. Your brain gets used to the effects of a substance and comes to rely on it to produce those effects. For instance, benzodiazepines are prescribed for sleep but prolonged use can lead to dependence. At that point, your brain chemistry is reliant on the drug for you to achieve restful sleep. Dependence is mostly a problem that affects your brain chemistry and how your nerve cells communicate.
Chemical dependence can be addressed in detox. Addiction, on the other hand, is much deeper than a chemical problem. Addiction affects your reward center, which is connected to your learning center. Once a substance use disorder takes root in your learning center, using drugs becomes impulsive and out of control, which is why one of the earmarks of addiction is not being able to stop even after drug use has caused serious consequences. Addiction requires comprehensive treatment to overcome.
YOU HAVE A CO-OCCURRING DISORDER
Addiction is closely tied to other mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. If you have or believe you have a mental health issue that has never been addressed, it’s possible that it is an underlying factor in your substance use disorder. If left untreated, mental health problems are powerful triggers and will more than likely result in a relapse. Through alcohol and drug addiction treatment, you can learn more about the underlying factors that may have led to your addiction and how to cope with mental health issues in a healthy way while maintaining your abstinence.
YOU’VE RELAPSED BEFORE
Some people go through detox multiple times before they realize the need for longer-term treatment for their substance use disorder. Detox is an essential step in safely achieving sobriety, but maintaining sobriety may take a deeper look at your addiction. If you have cravings that lead to relapse, it’s clear that your addiction requires more comprehensive therapy.
WHAT MAKES ADDICTION TREATMENT EFFECTIVE?
No treatment option is guaranteed to lead you to long-term abstinence and the success of your treatment plan will largely be up to you. However, if you do enter an addiction treatment program after detox you will want it to give you the best possible chance of success. While there are no guarantees and no perfect addiction therapy, there are a number of principles that make for effective treatment. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, there are 13 principles that should be taken into consideration for treatment to be effective.
Some of these principles have become cornerstones in the drug addiction treatment field and if you are looking for quality treatment, you should take these factors into consideration. Factors to look for include:
- Addiction is a complex disease. For addiction treatment to be effective, it’s important that the program has an accurate understanding of what addiction is. It’s not a moral failing and it’s not a bad habit; it’s a complex disease that primarily affects the reward center of the brain that can be treated. A proper understanding of addiction helps shed light on the reason relapse can occur even after years of abstinence. This understanding can help create effective relapse prevention programs.
- There is no ultimate treatment option. For treatment to be effective, it needs to be tailored to the person rather than trying to fit the person into a particular program. Everyone is different and addiction can be influenced by many different factors. A treatment plan that’s appropriate for one person may not be effective for someone else. When you enter a treatment program, you should have an opportunity to discuss your background, concerns for treatment, and anything that might help personalize your treatment plan.
- Treatment needs to last a certain amount of time to be effective. Even if you excel through treatment, if it doesn’t last long enough, it may end in relapse. It takes time to work through the emotional, cognitive, and psychological effects of addiction. Once your reward center recognizing the powerful effects of drugs as a way to cope with problems, it takes time to relearn coping skills. Studies show that the ideal amount of time to spend in addiction treatment is 90 days. While your treatment duration largely depends on your progress, three months is the recommended minimum.
- Treatment is about more than addiction. Addiction can have a deep impact on your life, affecting multiple areas including your job, your family, and your health. Effective treatment addresses all of these components. Your treatment program should help you with any needs you have including medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems.
- Behavioral therapies are recommended. There are a variety of therapeutic options in addiction treatment but behavioral therapies are the most recommended option. These therapies address motivation, underlying issues, relapse prevention, and the need for healthy coping skills. Because they are useful in addressing multiple needs, they are a staple in addiction treatment. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy are evidence-based, which means that their effectiveness has been supported by scientific studies.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
If you’ve gone through medical detox, your treatment center may have resources available to you to help connect you to the next best step in your treatment process. Continuing treatment is the best way to safeguard your sobriety after you’ve gone through medical detox. To learn more about your continued treatment options call the addiction specialists at Maryland House Detox at (888) 263-0631. Your next step on the road to recovery may just be a call away.